450 Gila Trout Airlifted From Polluted Stream

Associated Press

More than 450 endangered Gila trout were stunned with electrically charged poles, collected in a large bucket and airlifted from a mountain stream to guard them from ash produced by a huge wilderness fire.

A helicopter took the fish about 70 miles to a holding tank, where they will be kept until rainwater flushes ashes out of the stream, a tributary of Mogollon Creek.

The ash is from a fire that has burned 6,200 acres so far in the Gila National Forest. The fish could have suffocated if the stream had become choked by ash, said Paul Boucher, wildlife biologist for the national forest.